Cup of The Amazon

This project protects an area twice the size of New York City from deforestation by working with local communities to create new jobs from coffee and ecosystem services rather than logging.

Why we chose this project

“During our site visit in 2016, the impact of reforestation efforts of the project area compared to the surrounding areas was visible and a testament to Alto Mayo’s success. This success extends beyond the reforestation efforts; Alto Mayo instills sustainable and participatory farming techniques in coffee plantations, offers training programs, protects threatened biodiversity, and transferred project management to the local community. These benefits qualified Alto Mayo for CCB Gold Status. Lastly, this project’s longevity is financially dependent on the sale of carbon offsets. Cool Effect is excited to monitor Alto Mayo’s continued success, thanks to carbon offsets.”

– Sid Yadav, Director of Project Research

The Cool Effect Model

Project Type: Avoided Nature Loss

Carbon Standard: Verra

Vintage: 2014-2016, 2018-2020

Additionality: The government did not have sufficient funds or manpower to protect the forest. The project relies on funds from carbon to protect the forest.

Permanence: Risk factors to the long-term continuation of the project were deemed insignificant, including extreme weather events, pests, lack of political support, or community engagement.

Site Visit: October 2015

What It Does

Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF) protects nearly 450,000 acres from deforestation and avoids ~ 500,000 tonnes of Greenhouse Gas emissions per year– more than 6 million tonnes to date.

Alto Mayo is part of the Abiseo-Condor-Kutukú Conservation Corridor, one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world and home to many unique animal and plant species. Runoff from the Alto Mayo forests also feeds into several major rivers, providing clean and consistent water supply to the communities who live in the basin and their rice crops. The forest itself abates soil erosion. Despite its protected status, Alto Mayo suffers from poor management and financial constraints, construction of a major highway, and high rates of migration into the Amazon. It is one of Peru’s Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) with the highest rates of deforestation due to widespread settlement.

As the cost of coffee, the main crop grown in the area, rose, Alto Mayo’s future appeared bleak until Conservation International and regional allies designed the Alto Mayo Conservation Initiative (AMCI) to promote sustainable management for the forest and its ecosystem services. Prior to AMCI, most coffee farmers were not using organic fertilizers, pest control methods, or effective post-harvest management techniques causing farmers to deforest new plots to continue. By establishing conservation agreements between Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF) and local communities, the productivity and sustainability of the coffee plantations improve, resulting in higher family incomes and a reduced need to deforest.

AMCI also focuses on technical assistance for sustainable agriculture, environmental and educational awareness in the local communities, and strengthening the governing capabilities to reinforce AMPF’s protected status. Carbon financing enables conservation and climate change mitigation while improving the sustainable development of local communities.

  • Reduces an average of 500,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
  • Deters illegal logging and reduces deforestation by enabling more sustainable livelihoods based on non-forest products.
  • Consolidates governance of the area and transfers leadership of management processes to project staff.
  • Protects 400+ bird and 3,000 plant species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth.
  • Conserves the forest and in turn, the water supply for 240,000 people living downstream.
  • Paves the pathway to financial independence and a price premium to farmers selling certified organic coffee, which raises household incomes and food security.
  • Due to its size, the AMPF requires significant resources to protect it.
  • The success of the project hinges on changed behaviors at the local level, which hinge on long-term education and established trust.
  • Establishing organic and sustainable coffee production systems takes years and is susceptible to external risks, such as pests and disease, erratic weather patterns, and market fluctuations.
  • Groups involved with illegal logging often resist the change in scenario where the lands are constantly monitoring by staff supported by the project.
  • COVID-19 devastated Peru in 2020 and impacted project activities during this time.


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